Record Load Shedding for Eskom in 2021, While Medupi Will Cost R2.5 Billion to Repair After Explosion

Eskom has registered 51 days of load shedding in 2021, the highest on record since 2015. 

This was revealed by Chief Executive Officer André de Ruyter on Thursday. 

De Ruyter delivered the power utility’s State of the System providing details of the company’s operational performance.

The power utility said while it has not implemented load shedding since 19 November 2021, the generation side of the business remains a concern, specifically the availability of the coal power stations.

“Unplanned outages sits above 9,000MW, this is the lowest in a while. Planned outages are just above 7,000MW. Eskom is doing all it can to ensure sustainability.” 

De Ruyter also provided an update on the explosion at unit 4 of the Medupi generation power plant on 8 August last year after the power plant’s staff created a volatile mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.

De Ruyter said that an investigation by Eskom has determined that the explosion at Medupi Unit 4 occurred because of a failure by staff to comply with procedures.

“As a result, appropriate action will be taken. against the individuals concerned following due process.  The replacement cost of R2.5-billion is an unfortunate blow particularly as it will mean that 720MW is not available while repairs take place. This will put further constraints on the system, contributing to the likelihood of load shedding.” 

De Ruyter said Medupi is insured and that Eskom is in discussion with its insurers to “ascertain who will pay and what can be done to recover the cost”.

Eskom said while it continues to make positive strides and delivering key milestones in its plan to operational recovery, the road to sustainability will still be long and hard and the risk of load shedding in the short term remains high. 

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